This is one of the worst offences an actor can commit, but it is far, far too common. Maybe you’ve never done it, maybe you have, or maybe you’ve never given it much thought. If you’re in any doubt at all, here’s why you should never speak the dreaded phrase: Read More
Recently I was listening to an episode of the podcast Acting Inspired and they were talking about getting to a certain age where you lose a bit of your mojo. This really resonated with me because I turned 30 last year and all around me were actors (and other artists – directors, designers, dancers) who were asking, Do I still want to do this?
I want to be honest with you. There will be a point, probably in the few years after you hit 25, where you will have this experience – let’s call it a quarter-life crisis – where you lose your youthful spark and you question why you even wanted to work in the arts in the first place. I want to be honest with you about it, because I want you to understand what it’s really like in the arts – but I promise this is not just a whinge post. I have some concrete steps for you to take to avoid this, or help yourself out of it if you’re currently in the middle of it! Read More
During my first year of uni, we were lucky enough to be visited by a prominent Melbourne director. During our Q&A time with him, someone asked what actors could do to get ahead of the crowd. He answered, “Speak several languages, and take up horse-riding and fencing.” I think a few of my classmates thought this was a bit of a simplistic answer, but I appreciated his honesty. In a way, it’s reassuring to think that casting is just a numbers game – that if you have enough tools in your tool belt, eventually someone is going to hire you because you, unlike many others, have access to a specific combination of tools.
In reality, I’m not sure it’s that simple – there are certainly a number of other factors at play in every casting Read More
A few months ago I hit a bit of a low. I was exhausted and weary and seriously reconsidering whether I wanted to continue in the arts industry. To help myself recover, I reached out on Facebook to my artist friends to ask them, “What do you do to keep going in those low times?”
The arts in undoubtedly a challenging industry. Mostly I look back and I’m proud of what I’ve achieved… but my gosh some days you just need a hug.
If you’re in one of those slumps, I hope this list (compiled as a summary of my friends’ suggestions) gives you something to hold onto. Read More
This is a rather important topic, as I consider ‘doing stuff with your mates’ the bread and butter of an emerging actor. It will get you miles ahead of the people who are not doing stuff with their mates and… you get to work with your mates. Get all your giggles out now, because I’m going to use the phrase ‘doing stuff with your mates’ repeatedly in this post, because frankly, ‘making art with your colleagues’ sounds just as dirty. So let’s just roll with it.
Basically I’m referring to creating your own work. This is generally known as ‘freelance’ (securing your own acting work without an agent) or ‘independent’ (putting on your own shows/shorts/webisodes without ties to a major company). This type of work is largely unfunded or ‘co-op’ (where you split any money the show makes between whoever was involved, also called profit-share or box-office split). Sadly, you probably won’t make a lot of money from this sort of work, because your box-office income will most likely go towards recouping costs for equipment and costumes and all that, but the experience and exposure is really going to be the biggest benefit to begin with. Yes, this is one of the few times where being paid in exposure dollars might actually be worth it.
Why do stuff with your mates? Why not just wait til the right role comes along and you nail that audition? Read More
While I’m on a roll with the audition prep stuff, I may as well talk a little about choosing a monologue. It may sound like the easiest part of your prep, but it’s actually incredibly easy to get wrong – and getting it wrong makes a huge difference to your chances of being cast.
Let’s say you’re auditioning for a production of Hamlet. You’ve heard it on the grapevine that they’ve cast all the roles except for Ophelia, so you deduce you will either get cast as Ophelia or you won’t get a part at all. They’ve asked you to prepare one Shakespearean monologue. For your recent drama school audition, you performed Hermione from The Winter’s Tale, and the teachers worked with you on it, so you feel like you’ve got a good understanding of the monologue and the way it should be performed – and it’s Shakespeare, which is what they asked for. You go to the audition, you do a good job of your performing your monologue, they work with you on a few things, and you walk away feeling like a winner… then you hear nothing back from them, and eventually you realise someone else has been cast. What happened?
There are a lot of elements at play here, Read More
If you’re a freelance actor, you’re probably carefully monitoring Facebook pages and audition sites for audition notices. (You are doing that, right?? If not, you need to check out my post about how to use social media to get auditions.) You probably spend less time thinking about how you write an Audition Request Email – but did you know a terrible introductory email can work against you? If there are limited audition slots and your email is informal, rude or lazy, you might not even get offered an audition time. You could be ruining your chances before you even get out the door, just through lazy writing! So what can you do to strike the right tone and guarantee your chances of an audition? Read More
One of the things that can be quite daunting as a young actor is the sense of isolation. If you have friends or family in the industry, or if you’re studying, you may not feel it, but to some extent it’s common to feel like you are alone in your pursuit. This is partly due to the fact that actors are set up in competition against each other every time they meet – auditions, classes, even social events can feel like a race to impress other people in the industry. At other times you may feel like the only person in the room with ambition. It’s hard to feel like you have an ally, and it’s hard to know who to ask for help – but you will need help at some time or other.
The primary reason I started this blog was to create somewhere for you to go for help, but you will probably have more questions than I can answer here. Feel free to comment and I will do my best to answer, but ideally you’ll probably want a mentor of your own. You need someone you trust who has been working in the industry a while and understands its ups and downs. But how do you find someone when you’ve just started out and the only people you’ve met are lawyers who like to do community theatre in their spare time?
The tools you need… without looking like a tool
Before I get onto discussing how to use social networking tools for professional advancement, I need to wade through the quagmire that is ‘self-promotion’.
When I say ‘self-promotion’, I’m talking about websites, Facebook pages, business cards, mass mail-outs of headshots, or any sort of advertising that is produced by you solely for the purpose of promoting you as an actor.
Suffice it to say: I’m not a fan. I don’t think it’s appropriate or necessary when you first start your career – and I’m not the only one.
Ahhh, the balancing act of life. Everybody has to balance the many aspects of their life, no matter whatprofession they’re in, but it may come as quite a shock to you to balance quite so many things straight out of high school. You will probably be working full time or part time, taking classes of some sort, going out to see shows, reading whatever seems interesting and relevant, looking for auditions, practising whatever needs practising, and… the rest of your life. Cleaning the house, maintaining relationships, chilling out where you can. I hate to be a party pooper but I’ve got to tell you now: as an actor, this never changes. You will ALWAYS be balancing a million things. Even if you succeed at becoming a big movie star, the balancing act will only get worse, not better. Successful actors work incredibly hard to become successful and incredibly hard to stay that way. You need to learn to work hard and smart, and learn to deal with stress and tiredness in a graceful way. Read More